Mmmmmmmmmm… homemade Swedish Meatballs…
This has got to be one of my all time favorite ways to prepare meatballs and it's soooooo easy!!
Seriously, I don't care if you think you can't cook (or even if you're experienced) – trust me on this one… this is a great recipe, guaranteed to please hungry tummies, picky kids and whole families and it's practically foolproof.
Let's get this meatball party started, shall we?
Before we move onto the recipe, I just have to get this off my chest… I consider myself to be a frugal person, but I do have one weakness.
I'm completely obsessed with Ikea and those darn meatballs of theirs.
Anytime I go into an Ikea, I find myself with at least an armload (or two!) of new goodies for the kitchen PLUS a belly full of their delicious Ikea meatballs.
Does this happen to you? Please, tell me I'm not alone. 😉
And so, even though Ikea has some very reasonably priced home goodies and tasty food, there's nooo way I could go there to satisfy a Swedish Meatball craving every time! Ikea is just too tempting for me and I'm pretty sure if I stepped inside the store more often, they'd have difficulty keeping the place properly stocked. lol
My Swedish Meatball recipe is the answer to the problem!
I'm proud to say that this recipe creates an amazing flavor that's extremely close to the meatballs you can get in Ikea… dare I say maybe even better? 😀
Before we jump into the recipe, here are my secrets to making the most “knock your socks off” Swedish meatballs ever:
- To get that amazing flavor in your creamy meatball sauce, it's best to cook the meatballs in a large frying pan rather than baking them or another method.
- Once the meatballs are browned and temporarily removed from the pan, the tasty little brown bits on the bottom of the pan are scrapped up and combined with the butter and beef stock (aka deglazing the pan). These browned bits are the key to the yumminess! Just make sure you don't burn the bottom of the pan – that will create the opposite of yumminess. ;P
- If you like a lot of sauce, you may want to double or even triple the sauce ingredients for the recipe.
- Make sure you give the sauce enough time to reduce and thicken up. Keep in mind that the times mentioned in the recipe are just guidelines – you may need more or less time depending on how thick you'd like the sauce to be. The longer you let it reduce, the less extra sauce you'll have.
- Be gentle with those meatballs! I recommend using a silicon spoon/spatula to stir the meatballs around in the sauce since it's more gentle than a metal spoon.
How are Swedish meatballs different from regular meatballs?
What is unique about Swedish meatballs?
While standard meatballs, what we would call American-Italian style meatballs, are doused in chunky, tomato sauces, Swedish meatballs are cooked in a beef-stock based gravy sauce alongside sour cream giving it a savory taste. Standard meatballs are seasoned with garlic and parmesan within the tomato sauce, Swedish meatballs are seasoned with onion and pepper inside of a beef gravy based sauce.
The other major difference is that Swedish meatballs are specifically made with a meat mixture of ground beef and ground pork. This is the key to making juicy meatballs, as combining beef and pork gives a rich flavor and a moistness since pork is more moist than beef, while regular meatballs can be made with just about any type of ground meat.
Individual Swedish meatballs tend to be a lot smaller than your average American-Italian meatballs. Each individual Swedish meatball is usually smaller than a golf ball.
What is Swedish meatball sauce made of?
What ingredients are used to make Swedish meatballs?
Swedish meatball sauce is made with a base of sour cream and beef stock, butter and flour combined together make a roux to thicken the sauce, and the sauce is flavored with seasonings like onion and ground black pepper. This rich and creamy sauce is made silky smooth due to the addition of the sour cream. Optionally, you can also add in other flavors like Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard or grated onion to the meatballs to add depth of flavor.
Swedish meatballs are made out of a lean ground beef and pork mixture. For the best results, use my meatball recipe here! However, if you like it is possible to purchase frozen meatballs from the supermarket, just make sure to buy meatballs that are a mixture of pork and beef together if you are making Swedish meatballs.
What do Swedish meatballs taste like?
Swedish meatballs have a delicate flavor and a soft, juicy texture. They tend to be moister than most other types of meatballs due to the pork and beef mixture they're made from.
The sauce for Swedish meatballs has a creamy texture and is flavored with a mixture of beef broth and sour cream. It's flavorful but not too overpowering, and it goes perfectly with the delicate flavor of the meatballs.
Can I make Swedish meatballs ahead of time?
You might be able to get away with making Swedish meatballs a day or two in advance, but any longer than that and they might start to dry out. If you want to make them ahead of time, you can refrigerate or freeze them in an oven safe dish and then put the dish in the microwave or oven when you're ready to eat them.
How to thicken Swedish meatball sauce
If your Swedish meatball sauce is too thin, there are a few things you can do to thicken it up. First, you can simmer the sauce for a longer period of time to allow some of the liquid to evaporate. This will also deepen the flavor of the sauce.
Another option is to add a thickener such as cornstarch or flour. Simply mix either of these with a little cold water to form a slurry, then whisk into the sauce and cook for a minute or two until thickened.
Finally, if you want a really rich and creamy sauce, you can stir in some heavy cream at the end. Just be sure not to boil the sauce once the cream has been added, or it may split.
What to Serve with Swedish meatballs:
Swedish meatballs are often served with sides like homemade mashed potatoes, rice, egg noodles or steamed veggies. And lastly, don't forget the lingonberry jam! Traditionally the Swedes enjoy their meatballs alongside some lingonberry jam.
You can make a Swedish meatball sandwich on some crusty bread. You can even make a Swedish meatball sub sandwich with Swiss cheese or Gruyere cheese alongside a bit of lingonberry jam.
How to Store Leftover Swedish meatballs:
If you have any leftover Swedish meatballs, make sure to store them in the fridge in an airtight container. They will keep for up to 3-4 days. Make sure to let the meatballs cool completely before storing them.
How long are leftover Swedish meatballs good for?
Leftover Swedish meatballs will stay good in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months. When reheating, be sure to heat them until they're hot all the way through to ensure food safety.
Can I freeze Swedish meatballs?
Swedish meatballs can be frozen and enjoyed at a later date.
When freezing Swedish meatballs, it's important to make sure they are properly packaged. First, allow the meatballs to cool completely. Then, place them in a freezer-safe container or bag. Be sure to remove as much air from the container or bag as possible before sealing it. This will help prevent freezer burn.
To reheat frozen meatballs, simply place them in a baking dish and bake at a low temperature until heated through. You can also reheat them in a saucepan on the stovetop.
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: About 6 servings 1x
- 2 pounds of meatballs (for best results use my recipe here and cook according to the instructions below)
- 1/4 cup butter, unsalted
- 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups of beef stock
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- pinch of salt (I didn't measure this but it was probably about 1 1/2 teaspoon)
- Pinch of ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- For best results please use my basic meatball recipe here and cook in a large frying pan.
- Once you meatballs have browned on all sides, remove from the frying pan and place on a plate or cookie sheet lined with paper towel to help remove any excess oil.
- Make sure that the heat under the frying pan is set to low for the next step.
- Melt the butter in pan.
- As the butter melts, use a metal spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. This is super important to do since it will give your Swedish meatballs an awesome amount of flavour!
- To the pan, add the all-purpose flour and combine with the butter and browned bits using a whisk. Do this for about a minute or 2 so that it forms almost a “paste”.
- Add a pinch of pepper and salt and then pour in the beef stock.
- Increase the burner to medium high and combine everything in pan using the whisk. As you can to stir the gravy should begin to thicken up. The should take about 10 minutes.
- Add the sour cream and combine using the whisk.
- Return meatballs to the pan and gently coat them with the gravy. Be careful not to break you meatballs!
- Continue to cook this on medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, gently stirring a few times.
- Reduce the heat to simmer for about 5 minutes before serving.
- Serve your Swedish meatballs with freshly cooked egg noodles, mashed potatoes or some fries.
- Garnish with chopped fresh parsley
This recipe will make about 2 cups worth of gravy. If you'd like more gravy, please feel free to double the ingredients!
Traditionally, the Swedes enjoy their meatballs with lingonberry jam on the side. 😀
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 35 mins
- Category: Main
- Cuisine: Scandinavian